14th century seal found near Lutterworth

March 8, 2017 by  

A seal matrix dating back to the 14th century has recently been found on land in the Cotesbach region, just south of Lutterworth.

The seal was discovered by Justin Owens, but the land belongs to Richard Vernon. The seal has been officially declared as treasure by Dr Christina Swan at a coroner’s inquest into the finding. The artefact will have been used to seal customised stationery and documents in medieval times.

The seal is inset with jasper, but the gem is showing signs of damage. X-ray analysis has shown the seal to be made up of around 93 to 95 percent silver. Measuring 17 millimetres wide and 22.1 millimetres long, it has a depth of 4 millimetres and weighs 3.6 grams. An inscription bears the words “secretum ace”.

The British Museum’s curator of medieval collections, Naomi Speakman, explained:

“The inscription ‘secretum’ indicates that this is a secret seal, but it is not clear what ‘ace’ refers to. In terms of age and as the object contains a minimum of ten percent precious metal it qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act 1996.”

A provisional valuation will be sought, after which the seal will be passed to the Treasury Valuation Committee. Most treasure found on British soil, and the subsequent reward, is usually split equally between land-owner and finder.

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